Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution is the formal process for resolving disputes between landlords and tenants – it’s similar to a court proceeding.

Landlords and tenants can apply for dispute resolution when they can’t resolve a problem related to a tenancy.

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The Basics



Sometimes landlords and tenants experience conflict with each other.  If they are unable to resolve the issue on their own, they can apply for dispute resolution.  Watch this video to understand how the dispute resolution hearing process works when an arbitrator makes a decision for the two parties.


Sometimes landlords and tenant have settlement discussions during a dispute resolution hearing. A settlement discussion is when an arbitrator helps the two parties decide on an agreement. This video describes what you could expect during a settlement discussion.

The Dispute Resolution Process


Applications for dispute resolution must be made within two years of ending a tenancy. If one of the parties files a claim during that period, the other party can make a separate claim – even if the two-year deadline has passed. However, the separate claim must be made before the first claim is heard.

Decisions are given within 30 days of the hearing date. All decisions are final and binding.

An arbitrator may make minor corrections or clarify a decision; however, no one can change the outcome of an original decision – not even an arbitrator. Decisions can only be overturned:

  • If a review hearing is granted and a new arbitrator reaches a different conclusion
  • By a judicial review conducted by the Supreme Court of British Columbia

The Residential Tenancy Branch is the authority for hearing all disputes between landlords and tenants under the Residential Tenancy Act and the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act. The branch schedules hearings and maintains all documents related to each case.

The Residential Tenancy Branch handles money claims that are $35,000 or less (as of June 1, 2017). Claims larger than that must be made through the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

An arbitrator conducts dispute resolution hearings – they’re responsible for:

  • Managing time and communication used during the hearing
  • Listening to testimony from all parties involved and considering evidence
  • Making an impartial decision


The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: March 16, 2022.

Contact the Residential Tenancy Branch